Camping in a Rattlesnake Habitat During a Monsoon

Well, I really can’t say this weekend was uneventful at all.  It was quite the opposite actually.
About mid-week last week Josh and I decided to put together an impromptu camping trip for this weekend in case he gets the job he applied for in Seattle and moves away.  Usually we go up to Idaho every year to go tubing down the river, but this year we decided to go closer to home (to save money) and we ended up at Jordanelle State Park.  When we arrived they had a full sign outside, but when we asked them about it they said they had some hike-in spots available if we were willing to hike a half-mile in.  We decided to give it a go, and Josh, Ortie, and I made the half-mile (each way) trek about three times that evening to gather stuff and get camp set up.

We had been worried we would get smoked out, since there’s a huge forest fire not to far from Jordanelle, but it wasn’t bad at all up there.  The fire made for some beautiful sunsets.  Once camp was set up finally we celebrated by cooking hotdogs and sitting around the camp fire with a beer and watching the lights over the lake.  It was so pretty.

Unfortunately I had to (of course) go to the restroom at 3am.  The restroom was a quarter-mile hike up to the top of the hill-and doing that in the pitch-black alone through a Rattlesnake habitat and past various other creatures (stressing about Mountain Lions) and frat boys might have been the scariest walk I’ve ever taken.  But sunrise over the lake was beautiful to see a few hours later.

Sunday we got up and fixed breakfast.  While our campsite had the most amazing view it was also in direct sunlight for most of the day-so we very quickly applied sunscreen and decided to walk down to the Marina (probably about a mile hike/walk each way) to go swimming.  We swam for a bit when we saw lightning and heard thunder and decided to get out and go back to camp.
We had just enough time after getting back to camp to have a quick sandwich before the rain started coming down and we took refuge in the tent where we talked, napped, and drank wine.

Rain at Jordanelle

Unfortunately after about 3 hours of sitting in the tent waiting for the rain to end, we were done.  I had to pee and it was pouring buckets so a muddy hike to the top of the hill did not seem fun.  I was contemplating using a bush just about the time that the wind picked up and suddenly the tent was no more-it started flooding and collapsing in around us!  We started panicking as the stakes came out one by one and more and more water soaked us.  Josh and Ortie jumped out and held the front of the tent up while I grabbed everything I could and ran it to the food tent (a child size tent we’d been keeping supplies in).  All of our stuff was soaked, but the little tent was holding together well.  We collapsed the big tent (which had turned into somewhat of a sale as it tried to blow away) and put the cooler on it to keep it steady before hiking up the hill to take refuge in the bathrooms.
Go figure that the minute we got to the bathrooms it calmed down and stopped raining.
By this point I was starting to realize how sun-burnt we were.  Ortie was only slightly red (since she has fabulous olive skin) but Josh’s head (because he’s a white Irish boy) was beet red.  I didn’t realize until I hit the bathroom that I was going to be in pain very soon.
  At camp as it was starting to kick in.                                            At home once I showered-OUCH.

It wasn’t long after that we decided to try and make a fire, but with everything being so wet (except the wood which was still in the trunk) we had no luck.  However, we were lucky that our friend John was coming up at that point, and being a former boy scout he had it up in less than 2 minutes.  We cooked our hobo dinners (which were fabulous) and roasted marshmallows until I was too cold (still in damp clothes) to stay up any longer and retired to my sleeping bag.
Sunday morning we were about done.  After a hike up to the restroom Josh and I opted to sit at another camp spot that was in full shade until the need for coffee overruled our need to not be in the sun (as our burns were now throbbing) any longer.  This made the decision to pack up and get out a lot faster since we couldn’t handle much more.  We were going to go swimming one last time after hiking out, but the sun kept us in the shade of the pavillion until we gave up and went home.  It was still a great trip and I’m so glad we went!

I was exhausted, sore, & burned by the end of the trip, but I also felt like a total badass.  I hiked probably about 7-10 miles (both without and with arms full of camping gear) and swam.  I’m sure I burnt more calories than I ate-and I need to make it a habit to be much more active.  The sore was good-it felt so accomplished like I’d earned it!
How was your weekend?
Angie is a single lady who just bought her first home in a cute neighborhood in Salt Lake City, UT. She works full time, goes to school part time, and manages three (soon to be four) blogs. In her free time she enjoys hosting parties, decorating, creating art, crafting, reading, writing, good coffee, good wine and beer, and trying new things.
  • Katherine

    It looks like it was quite the adventure! I would've peed outside the tent, but I'm lazy like that!

  • jessica

    ouch! that sunburn looks brutal. hope it heals fast! i'm not a big fan of camping. okay, i hate it actually. hey, it's not for everyone.

    glad y'all had fun!

  • Megan Colwell

    Oh man, this looks like so much fun!

  • Emmy

    Okay I have to admit that leaves me with not much desire to go camping! That rain would have sucked!
    Glad you still seemed to have fun despite everything. Get some aloe, it will be your friend!

  • Leeann @ Join the Gossip

    Holy shit – that sunburn! Lol poor thing! And I totally would have just peed in the bushes. I would've been too scared to take that hike. Aside from the bumps in the road it does look like a beautiful place!

  • becca

    ouch to the sunburn but what an adventure and gorgeous sunrise/sunset

  • Kenzie Smith

    Sounds like you had quite the interesting camping trip! Fun, though 😀 Your sunburn looks like it hurts.. Ouch.

  • JennTRC

    Looks like you had a blast…except for that sunburn!

  • Karen M. Peterson

    That sounds like quite an adventure! I'm not sure I could handle going to a Rattlesnake Habitat, myself, and that weather sounds crazy, but I'm glad you had fun.

  • Susannah

    wow, what an eventful weekend! Sounds like fun!!! :-)

  • Ricki Jill Treleaven

    It looks like you had fun in spite of the rain (which y'all need for the fires sans lightning) and the sunburn!

    LOL I don't know what I would've done @ 3AM….you are VERY brave!!!

    I guess you have mixed emotions about Josh, huh? It's so weird, but Seattle has been a leitmotif in my life lately…so weird. Plus the weather here has been more like Seattle than Birmingham this sumer!

    Thanks for linking-up, my dear. I had so much fun shopping for you yesterday and today. My friend had me cracking up because she was wanting me to send you contraband to SLC!!!! ;P


  • Jo-Anne Meadows

    Someone got burnt………hope it didn't hurt to much, sunburnt is not something I have ever been oh hang on I did get burnt once way back in 1999 but it wasn't that bad

  • Holly Higgins

    Hobo stew! That so reminds me of my Girl Scout days. I would've been terrified of hiking to the bathroom in the dark too. The thought of being somewhere where there are snakes terrifies me.